One of his pupils once asked Rembrandt when he knew a painting was finished. “Is it when you feel it’s complete?” “No.” “Is it when it looks exactly like the picture in your head.” “No.” “Is it when the person who commissioned it comes to collect it?” “No,” said Rembrandt, “The painting is finished when you stop painting.”
Basically, it’s up to you. At some point you decide to stop painting, and voila. The painting is done.
Also, I entirely made up that anecdote about Rembrandt, but I’m really hoping it makes it into historical lore, so feel free to use it in TED talks and dinner party conversation. /wink.
There were three or four ways this wall could have gone down. For a long time I had the two mirrors on the sides up and the middle mirror resting against the wall as I decided whether to rip the mirrors off and do a larger and much plainer mirror or an art piece or lantern sconces. Then my college friends assured me that the patterned mirrors worked rather than competed with the patterned wall, so I decided to put up the third mirror and stop painting. Yes, it’s a buttload of pattern. That’s kind of what I was going for in this room.
So just a reminder of the BEFORE:
Hey, that looks exactly like it did the last time you posted! Nooo. I finished the curtains, changed out the pulls on the coffee table and, as I mentioned, hung the third mirror on the wall. Why did it take me so long? It is devilishly hard to commit to a choice because that entails closing off other options which feels like death. I’m barely even being melodramatic about that. Anyway, I’m so pleased that I redid the curtains all the way to the crown molding. Looks much better this way.
And I love the mercury glass finials which tie in with all the silvery hardware.
Yesterday a friend asked me, “Did you know blue was going to be the it color this season?” Yeah. In fact, it’s been ruling the roost for some time now, and shows no signs of stopping soon. When it eventually does, I’ll have to re-re-imagine my navy coffee table, but I’ll think about that tomorrow.
I used a lot of shades between white and cream in the room–even a light beige. Shudder. I feel like it’s better if all the whites in a room either match exactly (good luck) or there are several shades, each one repeated somewhere. You’d hate to be the lone bright white candle in the room. But now we’re talking Van Gogh instead of Rembrandt.
I would say I think the mirrors where the right decision, but I don’t believe in “the” right decision–in decorating anyway. I believe there are many right decisions–and plenty of wrong ones, too. Any of the options I was looking at would have worked. I find the illusory notion of strict rules and right and wrong in decorating to be paralyzing. If “the” correct design choices were actually codified, every layperson would buy that pamphlet and decorate quickly and confidently. But instead people stumble through decorating choices always asking “Is this right?” “Can I do that?” and feel overwhelmed by the answers “Always use an odd number unless four looks better” and “contrasting colors work better together than congruent colors except when they don’t.” So instead of saying the mirrors were the right decision, let me say simply that I love how they turned out. I like them. Oh, and Kent really likes them, too. And our friends who were over this weekend.
The magical day has come when I move on from the living room and start working on the Princess Suite for her royal Fluffiness of Flufferton. I need to keep moving because as much as I love the living room and plan to move right in, its finished state really highlights the rudimentary decor of the rest of the rooms.